Fight Scenes Analysis

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Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by shii405 on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 8:44 am

As a martial arts movies fan, I'd like to analyze the fight scenes in The Last Jedi. There are 4 fight scenes, I think?

1. Rey vs Luke
2. Reylo vs the Praetorians
3. Finn vs Phasma
4. Kylo vs Luke

I thought Rose had a fight rehearsal with a nightstick? Is the scene deleted?

My favorite is, of course, Reylo vs the Praetorians, that is the best lightsaber fight scene ever in SW history, no doubt for me. (Next best in SW history is Qui Gon Jinn - Obiwan Kenobi vs Darth Maul, imho, the only good stuff in TPM)
After 2nd viewing, I just realized Rey vs Luke short fight scene was a pleasant to watch too. Luke did great for his age, it was a lot faster fight moves than what he had to do in the 80s. Kylo vs Luke was quite interesting, too. Finn vs Phasma is my least fav.

So, I found out the fight choreographer and stunt coordinator for both TFA and TLJ is Liang Yang. He's the guy Daisy and John praised so much during TFA promos. He played Stormtrooper FN-2199 whom Finn had a fight scene with in TFA. Obviously, Liang Yang's background is Chinese martial art.

Fight choreographer for the original trilogy was Bob Anderson, an Olympic fencer. I'm not sure why this video claims SW lightsaber fights influenced a lot by kendo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vGjNnZhJFI
But I guess fencing and kendo kinda similar, they are very slow in movements, really different than Chinese swordplay.
Bob Anderson also played Darth Vader for his fight scenes with Luke. As I grew up with kungfu movies, I have to say the Vader vs Obiwan/Luke fight scenes in OT bored me to death, lol.

Fight choreographer for the prequel trilogy is Nick Gillard. I don't know what is his martial art background, but the lightsaber fight scenes have really stepped up its games in the prequels, they've become really fast and similar to Chinese swordplay, I gotta say.

As for Liang Yang's fights, I can see he use Chinese style as basic but most of the moves are pretty much MMA and universal. Especially, because lightsaber is a unique weapon that does not exist in other movies or real life, the effect and the way to use it, will have to be different than normal swords.


Reylo vs the Praetorians

"2 vs many" pattern is always tricky, I always find the fight so BS even in Chinese films when you see the multiple opponents just moving around so fake just waiting for their turn to attack the hero, it just looks so funny. I am amused to see they portrayed the Praetorian guards as gentlemen when it comes to Rey, haha. One of them was actually kneeling on the floor, waiting for his turn, maybe thinking his friend is good enough to finish the girl. I like they actually give these faceless guards personality/character to make the fight scene works and doesn't look stupid. As for the guards facing Kylo, they seem to be very cautious and on-guard with Kylo... the 3 guards doesn't attack him at the same time, though they were surrounding him. It was Kylo who attacked one of them first. I'm not sure if that makes sense. Although, thinking they might know he's a Force user, maybe that's what made them being extra careful with Kylo? Also, from their body language, it seems like they were looking for the right timing to attack Kylo. They didn't just move randomly. I love how we can easily tell that these faceless Praetorians are badasses. Awesome directing by Rian.
The other amazing thing from the Praetorians is their awesome variety of weapons. Chinese movies doesn't have that kind of variety. But it looks like it is inspired from R-rated Indonesian martial arts movie, The Raid. "The Raid" cast played the Kanjiklub gang in TFA. JJ invited "The Raid" guys to be a part of the cast because he loved the movie. I wonder if the variety of weapons is JJ's idea? JJ asked one of "The Raid" guys to choreograph a fight, he did it, but then JJ told him "That's awesome... but uhh, it's too violent for a PG13, we can't use it, sorry" lol

It's also interesting that when they were separated, Kylo's fights were the long-range type, meanwhile Rey got all the close-quarter ones (when the thing pointing at her throat and also the ending when she had to drop her saber to win). Maybe close-quarter fight would be easier for Daisy. Long-range fight is very tiring and takes up a lot of energy. I love how Kylo blocked an attack and used his opponent's push to block a 2nd attack from the side. That's very basic Chinese teaching. Also love it when Kylo snatched away the dead opponent's spear, that's a good tactic to increase chances of winning the fight with the other opponent, and it must not be easy to pull off.

And of course... my pure nerdgasm came when Rey threw her saber to Kylo and he finished it off (NO PUN INTENDED). I mean, Rey could've just ran toward them and killed the guard herself, but nooo... she let Kylo get his cool handsome moment and finished the last opponent himself, made it a grand, epic ending to the whole sex fight scene. AWESOME!!

Big applause to Adam and Daisy for doing all those stunts themselves. And, Adam is just beyond awesome. Daisy made a lot of effort and she did a great job pulling off all those stunts, but I can see she is still struggling and alot of her moves does not flow, there is discontinuity in her moves. But... Adam, Adam... he is so flawless in his moves. I swear I'm not biased, I've noticed this since TFA, before I was a fan! I thought Adam looks very comfortable in swinging around his lightsaber. When I see Kylo fighting those Praetorians, I can really believe that the lightsaber is like a part of his body and that he is really an expert in fighting. I wonder what kind of martial arts he learned in military?
In "The Raid 2" movie, there is this character Hammer Girl who uses two hammers in all of her fight scenes. The actress said she was told by the director, to hold the hammers in her hands in her daily life and play around with them in her free time for six months to get used to it, because in the fight scenes, it has to look like the hammers are extension of her own hands.
Since Adam is a method actor, I wonder if he was holding the crossguard lightsaber in his free time at home to get used to it? Cause it really looks like he is so comfortable holding it. I can see the difference with how Daisy holding the saber.

Reylo's tug of war for the hilt, after 3rd viewing I had to hold back my laugh, cause omg, I just realized I've seen this kinda scene so many times in Chinese wuxia dramas, looool ... I just couldn't believe I get to see it in a Star Wars movie! Normally, the two equal fighters would fall back and then throw up blood from their mouths for using too much of their inner energy, and then they will get bad inner injury. Haha too bad TLJ is a PG13 movie, so we can see no blood.

I will not say much about the thigh grabbing, lol, so many Reylos have analyzed it in details. I just wanna say that it has never happened in any Asian martial arts movies I ever saw, so it must be very original idea from Rian, I believe haha.


Rey vs Luke

Rey fight with a staff.... squeeee.... gosh, please let Rey fight with the staff alwaysss! She is born to fight with a staff not a lightsaber. I dunno know why, Daisy looks so much better with the staff. Mark did great too, I wish I can see Mark's rehearsal for this. It was a very short scene, but the attacking and blocking are nice to look at.


Kylo vs Luke

I love that it's just like the classic OT fight scenes with a little of variation. And I see Luke's stunt double for a second there, when Luke had to make a complex move avoiding Kylo's saber. Too bad the CGI background looks so fake in this scene?


Finn vs Phasma

It's just like a fight scene in any other Hollywood movie. I see nothing special about it. Kinda disappointed cause Gwen looks soooo dangerous in the fight rehearsal clip.
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by Sacrebleu on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 8:54 am

I've read that there were 6 Praetorian guards, but on watching it I thought there might be 8. Does anybody know for sure?
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by shii405 on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 8:57 am

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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by vaderito on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 8:58 am

Great analysis! cheers cheers cheers cheers cheers

I just don't understand why Reylo didn't use the Force against the Guards? Like, they totally could. PT Jedi always used the force against Battle Droids and other opponents alongside their sabers.

I also want to say it's nice to have a fight against actual people. I love PT but sanitized droid decapitations are just whatever. Not interesting or worthy opponents.

Yeah, Luke vs Kylo could've done w/o Matrix slide under the saber.

Also, Finn vs Phasma was really so generic. I didn't expect better cause I figured that they were keeping the fight against guards a secret, but daym that was even worse than I could imagine. Why the heck Gwendoline said it was the toughest thing she's ever done? REALLY? THAT? Tougher than GoT fights (that are actually great)? Just shows you to never trust actors who hype something too much.
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by Sacrebleu on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 9:04 am

I don't know anything about martial arts/fight choreography, but one thing that seemed a little odd each time I saw it (3 viewings) was when Rey and Kylo are fighting back to back and he stabs the floor with the tip of his lightsaber. It seemed almost like a swing and a miss? I couldn't tell.
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by shii405 on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 9:13 am

@Sacrebleu wrote:I don't know anything about martial arts/fight choreography, but one thing that seemed a little odd each time I saw it (3 viewings) was when Rey and Kylo are fighting back to back and he stabs the floor with the tip of his lightsaber.  It seemed almost like a swing and a miss?  I couldn't tell.
@Sacrebleu

I thought that was weird too, but it looked like he was dodging an attack to his head and stabbed the floor just to get balance? The floor stabbing definitely have a purpose and a part of the choreography though, since they added special effects to it.

Another thing doesn't make sense to me, when Rey just outta nowhere turned around and stabbed the guard at Kylo's side, suddenly ignoring the guard at her side? Also how she kicked one guard with Kylo's a** push, but all three guards fell back, loooool
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by Sacrebleu on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 9:22 am

There was also a long(ish) shot of Kylo's face as he is still and his eyes pan the room. Was he checking on her? Sizing up the situation as a whole? Both? Even having watched the movie three times I don't feel I got all the nuances of what was happening.
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by ZioRen on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 9:55 am

@Sacrebleu wrote:There was also a long(ish) shot of Kylo's face as he is still and his eyes pan the room.  Was he checking on her?  Sizing up the situation as a whole?  Both?  Even having watched the movie three times I don't feel I got all the nuances of what was happening.
@Sacrebleu

He was checking on her. That's why they did the whole (sort of cheesy) camera zoom to represent him locking focus on her getting hurt, after which he looked somewhat upset. Ultimately he couldn't go over there, but he fought harder after that. I think it was just meant to show that he was still aware of her and remembering part of why he was fighting at all.

As for when Kylo dug his saber into the ground, I always thought that it was because one of the Praets had hit/deflected his strike really hard that it drove his arm down and he either dug the saber in to stop himself or that's just where it ended up.

For Rey's three-man kick, the two theories I've seen is that she Force kicked or that Kylo, while stepping back to let her balance on his back, Force pushed them with the hand of his that ended up furthest back. Some people slowed a gif of it down and said that on the tail end of Kylo's saber swing, when his hand was closest to the Praets Rey was fighting, he moved his hand another little bit and that was supposed to show that he Force pushed them. That still doesn't explain why the Praet on the other side got knocked back, though, since Rey hit the one in the middle!
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by MrsWindu on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 10:03 am

@shii405

Wowsers that’s great to read, how you’ve broken fight down the fights with just a few screenings. I might have to find a few gifs to re-watch. I do remember Daisy in BTS fight reel about keeping up with Adam because he gave so much.

@Sacrebleu wrote:There was also a long(ish) shot of Kylo's face as he is still and his eyes pan the room.  Was he checking on her?  Sizing up the situation as a whole?  Both?  Even having watched the movie three times I don't feel I got all the nuances of what was happening.
@Sacrebleu

It’s the part when Rey is seared on the arm - he clocks what’s happend and assessed the situation maybe? When the Blu-ray is released I know I’ll be rewinding that scene on a loop. I also hope there’s a longer ‘making of’ featuring the throne room sequence.
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by ZioRen on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 10:16 am

What really caught my attention, and I'll have to watch and listen over and over when we have a clip in good quality, is the moment when Kylo was first caught by his neck by the Praet and Rey was struggling against her Praet at the same time. It focused on Kylo's face and it almost sounded like he called out 'Rey' in a weird way. After that, the camera immediately panned to Rey, who looked up and then suddenly got an idea as to how to get out of her situation (the part where she let go of the saber and then grabbed it again).

The reason that stood out to me so much is because that noise Kylo made seriously reminded me of that sound he made back in TFA while struggling and wounded on the ground at the end of the snow fight. I remember there being debate over whether he was saying 'Rey' in that moment when you listened really closely, and the sound I heard come out of him then sounded exactly like what I heard in that Throne Room scene. And it made me wonder if that's some sign of Kylo trying to connect with Rey with the Force. I'll have to listen to them back to back to one day to make sure I'm not just imagining things.  Laughing
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by Cowgirlsamurai on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 11:05 am

Things that stood out during the Praet fight:

Kylo stabbing the floor
Rey pushing back three guards with one foot (on first watch, I thought she lifted both feet, but one actually stays on the ground. Kind of creates an optical illusion? I love the perfect coordination of that whole move. The timing of the thigh grab and how he instinctively seems to know to shove her up and backwards)
The sparks from the sabers
Rey’s feral scream
Kylo’s panicked face while checking on Rey
The moment Kylo loses his saber! I liked his movements there.
Saber throw, face stab (Kylo’s looks of desperation and then shock are spot on)

I was impressed with Luke’s short fight scenes. Does he stop himself with the Force before he hits the ground when Rey attacks? I even like the Matrix like move against Kylo. I thought Mark did great!
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by Rimfaxe96 on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 11:37 am

I wasn't happy with Kylo's choreography. Normally long range attacks might be tiring, but considering how large he is it's basically his natural advantage (just like Rey being small meant she had to get into her opponents' faces, otherwise she would be unable to hit them at all and they'd just pluck her apart) and making him keep a bent/almost crouching position is just plain stupid (and kinda awkward looking) IMO. To quote Yahtzee from Zero Punctuation: "Let me bow my head into a convenient bludgeoning range!" Laughing

He's tall and literally built like a tank - let him fight like one, plowing head on through the enemy. Meanwhile leave the stealthy moves to Rey. Nonetheless great acting done by Driver, as usual. The way he looks over to Rey just before her shoulder is hit is just - incredible. I don't think I've ever seen an actor being able to convey so much expression so clearly with barely more than his eyes showing.
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by shii405 on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 3:53 pm

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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by shii405 on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 4:05 pm

@ZioRen wrote:What really caught my attention, and I'll have to watch and listen over and over when we have a clip in good quality, is the moment when Kylo was first caught by his neck by the Praet and Rey was struggling against her Praet at the same time. It focused on Kylo's face and it almost sounded like he called out 'Rey' in a weird way. After that, the camera immediately panned to Rey, who looked up and then suddenly got an idea as to how to get out of her situation (the part where she let go of the saber and then grabbed it again).
@ZioRen

That would be really cool if that's true and might make sense too! Where is that TLJ novelization??  bounce I hope we will know if they really use Force at all during the fight scene in the novel.
He might be trying to communicate with her thru the Force too, the first time he was looking at her, when he was surrounded? Those two moments when Kylo just looked at her, even if its to show that he is worried abt her, kind of pointless and took too long, the choreographer wouldn't let that happen unless there's a good purpose for it. Like Kylo trying to give her pointers through Force connection?


@Rimfaxe96 wrote:I wasn't happy with Kylo's choreography. Normally long range attacks might be tiring, but considering how large he is it's basically his natural advantage (just like Rey being small meant she had to get into her opponents' faces, otherwise she would be unable to hit them at all and they'd just pluck her apart) and making him keep a bent/almost crouching position is just plain stupid (and kinda awkward looking) IMO. To quote Yahtzee from Zero Punctuation: "Let me bow my head into a convenient bludgeoning range!" Laughing

He's tall and literally built like a tank - let him fight like one, plowing head on through the enemy. Meanwhile leave the stealthy moves to Rey. Nonetheless great acting done by Driver, as usual. The way he looks over to Rey just before her shoulder is hit is just - incredible. I don't think I've ever seen an actor being able to convey so much expression so clearly with barely more than his eyes showing.
@Rimfaxe96

Sorry, why aren't you happy with Kylo's choreography?

I wonder if he's crouching position is just one of his youth move, that Adam made up, lol. He does that kick, stomp, crouch thing too when he ignited his lightsaber in 1on1 fight (with Rey in TFA, with Luke in TLJ).
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by Rei of Sunshine on Mon 25 Dec 2017, 11:57 pm

I like the idea that Daisy/Rey moves much stiffer during the fight. She's used to the staff and this is only the 2nd time in a span on a few days that she used the saber to fight. Assuming that in the timeline TFA happened only about less than a week ago.

She def could hold her own against many using her staff. It made her a mid-long range fighter. Reminds me of onna-bugeisha and that their primary weapon is the nagatana. With the staff, Rey had more leverage thanks to the good amount of surface she can hold on to and the weight was obviously something she has been comfortable with for a long time. While the saber, she can barely keep both palms on it, and it makes sense that the hilt is lighter than her usual staff. She probably needs more practice to get used to it and move fluidly.

Plus you can really see her struggling during the fight. Which I think makes her less of a Mary Sue now. She got kicked around and injured. I think the PG didn't gang up on her because they though she was weaker and they wanted to take down Kylo first.

The PG were also at a disadvantage thanks to their number. It makes fighting rather awkward and crowded. Especially with long range weapons.

Kylo meanwhile was probably in his element and he's really used to his saber. And I super love that moment when he broke concentration just to check up on Rey. You can see him wide eyed and worried, then the PG around him activated their chain swords or whatever and he snapped back into reality and started swinging around.
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by MrsWindu on Tue 26 Dec 2017, 3:31 am

While we’re talking about the PG. There’s a double page in The Art of TLJ with concepts and blurbs from Rian and Kaplan


And in this page the prop concept designer says in relation to the guards weapons :

A key scene Rian asked as to reference was the dojo fight in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. So there was certainly a Chinese influence there



The various types of weapons make their appearance at 1.00. I hadn’t seen it in a while so I enjoyed re-watching

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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by shii405 on Tue 26 Dec 2017, 3:58 am

I am just so happy that JJ, Rian and Adam are so into Asian movies! Thank you for sharing this!
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by MrsWindu on Tue 26 Dec 2017, 4:06 am

@shii405 wrote:I am just so happy that JJ, Rian and Adam are so into Asian movies! Thank you for sharing this!
@shii405

I’m really glad they appreciate Asian movies too and hired those brilliant choreographers. It’s a pleasure to share with you.The Art of book just keeps giving and giving - I *have* to read every single blurb in case I miss something important
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by SheLitAFire on Tue 26 Dec 2017, 5:34 am

I like that moment when Ben gets distracted by looking for/at her. He sees her get hurt and for a split second his guard is down and he's lost focus of the 3 guards surrounding him.

Re: @shii405
Daisy made a lot of effort and she did a great job pulling off all those stunts, but I can see she is still struggling and alot of her moves does not flow, there is discontinuity in her moves.

I actually interpreted that as a deliberate move on the choreographer's and filmmakers part, to show that she is strong and can fight but hasn't had as much training. She's still very raw in her actions. She swings wildly, out of control as she gets angrier but also tired. I thought it very fitting for her character, actually. It shows she's not a flawless "Mary Sue"
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by shii405 on Tue 26 Dec 2017, 6:04 am

Rey's lightsaber-dropping trick reminds me of this. Jump to 1:37 (drop trick on 2:07). From "Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber."

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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by Lamiller1390 on Tue 26 Dec 2017, 7:58 am

Big applause to Adam and Daisy for doing all those stunts themselves. And, Adam is just beyond awesome. Daisy made a lot of effort and she did a great job pulling off all those stunts, but I can see she is still struggling and alot of her moves does not flow, there is discontinuity in her moves. But... Adam, Adam... he is so flawless in his moves. I swear I'm not biased, I've noticed this since TFA, before I was a fan! I thought Adam looks very comfortable in swinging around his lightsaber. When I see Kylo fighting those Praetorians, I can really believe that the lightsaber is like a part of his body and that he is really an expert in fighting. I wonder what kind of martial arts he learned in military?
In "The Raid 2" movie, there is this character Hammer Girl who uses two hammers in all of her fight scenes. The actress said she was told by the director, to hold the hammers in her hands in her daily life and play around with them in her free time for six months to get used to it, because in the fight scenes, it has to look like the hammers are extension of her own hands.
Since Adam is a method actor, I wonder if he was holding the crossguard lightsaber in his free time at home to get used to it? Cause it really looks like he is so comfortable holding it. I can see the difference with how Daisy holding the saber.

@shii405

I get the feeling that was the point. Kylo is a trained fighter with Both Luke and Snoke. Kylo should look more fluid and practiced than Rey who has had essentially no practice with a lightsaber. She knows how to fight with her staff but that is rudimentary and crude. In my opinion there being that obvious distinction between fight styles and just natural ability is great on Rian. We get to see Kylo Fight at his full power without injuries and we get to see how skilled he really is.

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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by Rimfaxe96 on Tue 26 Dec 2017, 9:15 am

@shii405 wrote:Sorry, why aren't you happy with Kylo's choreography?

I wonder if he's crouching position is just one of his youth move, that Adam made up, lol. He does that kick, stomp, crouch thing too when he ignited his lightsaber in 1on1 fight (with Rey in TFA, with Luke in TLJ).
@shii405

Just because of the crouching. And yeah, in hindsight it's probably what Adam picked. Confus Hope he'll get back to fighting like he did against Finn, standing tall and beating opponents down with a single full-power blow! Styled
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by shii405 on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 8:03 am

Grandpa approves.



The hostility of the replies, though Laughing
https://twitter.com/DepressedDarth/status/946596552805683200
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by PalmettoBlue on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 8:14 am

@shii405 wrote:Grandpa approves.



The hostility of the replies, though Laughing
https://twitter.com/DepressedDarth/status/946596552805683200
@shii405

I’m at the point where I can’t even look at the replies. People are idiots.
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Re: Fight Scenes Analysis

Post by Birdwoman on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:49 am

I have to agree with Vader on that one! Smile

I know, every time I read comments under articles or tweets I just get irritated.

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